Only one Croydon MP attended mosques’ emergency meetings

Gaza crisis: an estimated 100,000 demonstrators protested on the streets of London on Saturday

The day after 100,000 marched through the capital protesting against the ethnic cleansing conducted in Gaza, the borough’s Muslim communities staged public meetings to raise their concerns over the situation in the Middle East and rising levels of Islamophobia in south London

Show of concern: Croydon South MP Chris Philp’s photograph of his encounter with James Cleverly in the House of Commons today

A contrast in different approaches by Croydon politicians to reaching out to the borough’s Muslims who have been deeply distressed by the conflict in the Middle East was evident at a packed Purley Mosque yesterday afternoon.

More than 200 people were at the meeting, organised by the Croydon Federation of Mosques and held at Purley Mosque.

Croydon South MP Chris Philp and Rick Howard, a Liberal Democrat election candidate in the past, were there to listen to some harrowing stories from Croydon Muslims, many of whom have families trapped in Gaza.

In a series of speeches, South Croydon residents told of the horrors being inflicted on Gaza, with accounts of relatives among the many thousands of deaths of Palestinians, so many of them children.

People also condemned Hamas’s brutal terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians on October 7.

It was pointed out that there is already a humanitarian crisis in Gaza which could turn into a catastrophe.

The speakers referred to the history of 75 years of repression of the Palestinians and occupation of their land. They accused Israel of being involved in war crimes, in which the UK Government was complicit. They all called for a ceasefire, the stepping up of humanitarian aid and talks aimed at a political solution.

Philp began by saying, “I’ve come here to listen. I will convey what I’ve heard here back to Government.” Which earned him a strong round of applause, although Philp’s gesture may prove pretty meaningless unless it changes the Government’s position. The UK’s representative to the United Nations refused to back a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

A quick snap of himself with James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, was shared with the mosques today. What had been discussed at the Masjid, Philp said, “has been understood, especially about civilians in Gaza”.

At yesterday’s meeting, Philp said: “Parties need to abide by international law – I agree with that. Humanitarian aid must get in. The crossing needs to be opened. Aid needs to get in. People who need to get out should be able to get out.

“There’s a need for a two-state solution. Palestine needs and deserves its own state, sovereign, recognised and secure.

Full house: Purley Mosque yesterday was packed to hear what Tory MP Philp had to say

“I’m concerned about islamophobia and antisemitism in this country. I will always stand up against hate crime.

“I’m always ready to help the Purley Mosque. If you need help with planning permissions and such like just let me know.”

Philp won some respect from the audience just for attending. He said it is “my job in elected office to come to listen in person” to such grave concerns and worries.

Philp said, “In Parliament Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak said pretty much the same thing” regarding Israel and Palestine.

Also among the concerns raised with the Conservative Government’s policing minister was the sharp increase in Islamophobic abuse, vandalism and attacks, particularly over the past fortnight. Some of the borough’s Islamic leaders are concerned that this may continue as racist hate is whipped up by some dog-whistle politicians against the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, including over issues such as ULEZ, an issue with which Philp ought to be very familiar.

After about an hour, the MP said he would have to go, as he likes to spend most of Sundays with his family. Probably much like the thousands of families in Gaza would like to be able to do…

Philp’s speech was “clever and quite cunning”, according to one audience member.

“He said some things which were designed to appeal to the audience, while at the same time not diverting in any marked way from Government policy. On the face of it he was successful, as he received some applause.

“But his line about taking a message back to the Government is meaningless if the Government ignores it and just carries on as before, as I fear they will.”

No show: Labour MP Steve Reed

There had been another event planned to be held over the weekend at Thornton Heath Mosque, but this did not go ahead because neither of Croydon’s Labour MPs – Steve Reed and Sarah Jones – were available.

Reed’s office told the Croydon Federation of Mosques that he would instead be contacting all the mosques in his Croydon North constituency directly.

Reed wrote that, “Israel’s reaction must be proportionate, within the boundaries of international law” and that “we want humanitarian aid and the availability of water, food, fuel and medicine for Palestinians in Gaza to continue”. Reed said he would visit individual mosques, if asked.

Reed drew a strong response from the leader of a mosque in his current constituency, who said, “Mr Reed will be aware that by the Labour leader and some members of the shadow cabinet advocating, or at least intimating, Israel’s right to withhold water, fuel and electricity from the people of Gaza, [which is] a form of collective punishment or war crime, Labour has sent a message to Muslims that our concerns have no value for the leadership.

“We no longer feel the safety and confidence in Labour that we have enjoyed for many years, and have come to realise that our votes are taken for granted.

“Mosques in Croydon have come together and will be encouraging their congregations to vote together as a block and decisively for the party willing to meet our reasonable expectations.”

Muslim communities accounted for 10.4% of the Croydon population according to the 2021 Census.

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • As featured on Google News Showcase
  • Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Chris Philp MP, Church and religions, Community associations, Croydon Central, Croydon North, Croydon South, London-wide issues, Policing, Purley, Sadiq Khan, Sarah Jones MP, Steve Reed MP and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Only one Croydon MP attended mosques’ emergency meetings

  1. MIKE S. SE25 says:

    Was any mention made of the Israeli people slaughtered by Hamas, who the Palestinians elected into power, and the act which triggered the bombing?

    Any mention of the 1300% increase in attacks on Jewish people in the UK?

    Both sides need to own up.

    We need a solution, not more hatred, otherwise the killing will be going on in a 1000 years just as it is now.

    • Try reading the article.

      Hamas are terrorists. Palestinian children are not.

      Ordinary Israelis and London Jews have called out the war crimes being committed by the apartheid Israel regime.

      And we don’t allow anonymous comments

  2. Nadsy says:

    Really well written article. Appreciated.

  3. Nayem K says:

    I’m really happy to see this initiative – a good example of how dialogue can drive peace. Israel’s war crimes against innocent civilians must stop. Thank you to the organisers of this event – let’s have more of them to keep the dialogue going. Immediate cease-fire. Urgent aid for Gaza. Re-open serious discussions for Palestinian statehood.

  4. Kabir says:

    Good stuff ! This is a great community initiative. Immediate ceasefire. Let’s stop Israeli war crimes & use the UKs influence to bring peace to the region.

  5. Shah S says:

    Fantastic article and very fair. Israeli politicians are calling for the total destruction of Gaza and driving 2 million plus Palestinians into the Sinai desert. The irony of language like this seems to be lost or deliberately ignored.

    Israel is the illegal occupier and it is Palestinians who are defending themselves. The occupiers armed to the teeth cannot be defending themselves against defenceless and unarmed civilians.

  6. Shamima says:

    As a Croydon resident I’m so happy to see this kind of community dialogue. Israel needs to stop bombing civilians.

  7. AR says:

    It was great to see so many different people during the meeting. People of different backgrounds and faiths. It was refreshing to hear from a speaker who also has both Muslim and Jewish people in his family (through marriage I think he said) who passionately spoke about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the death of so many civilians including thousands of children. The civilian deaths on both sides are tragic and must stop. Our government leaders must lead both sides towards a path of peace and independence.

    • Sean says:

      Hats off to the MP for attending. It’s a shame the other politicians didn’t turn up – does not reflect well on them.

  8. Ceren says:

    Great article! The event was a celebration of British values; coming together at times of difficulty and listening to one another in respect whatever the people’s views are.

    I want the same thing for the people of Palestine after 75 years of occupation, oppression and torture, which all account for crimes against humanity.

    They should not be robbed of any of the liberties we enjoy in Britain despite the fact that they are portrayed as non-human by the apartheid regime.

  9. Foyez says:

    Pressure needs to be applied on MP’s to take meaningful action against Zionist aggression

  10. M S Moavia says:

    Its very important that MPs, Councillors and other elected members should listen to the concerns of their constituents.
    It was an impressive event at Purley mosque where Chris Philip came and listen to distressing and saddening concerns of Purley Muslim community and promised to raise his voice in House of commons on behalf of over 3 million Muslims in the UK to stop war crimes happening in Gaza.

  11. Siddiqui says:

    Fantastic initiative by Purley Mosque. Great turnout.

  12. Yunus Sharif says:

    It’s heartening to see the community come together to address such critical issues and engage with their local representatives. Chris Philp’s willingness to attend and listen to the concerns of his constituents is a positive step towards ensuring that our voices are heard at a higher level of government.

    While challenges remain, the collective action and advocacy for a just and peaceful resolution in the Middle East, as well as the fight against Islamophobia, are steps in the right direction. Let’s remain hopeful that these discussions and meetings will contribute to meaningful change and progress in the near future. Our diverse and engaged community can play a significant role in making a positive impact on these pressing issues.

    Let’s keep this momentum going!

  13. Sarah Bird says:

    Well done to Chris Philp for attending the community event and making his views on Hate Crime clear. Why did the other two MP’s fail to attend given the current crisis ?

    • Nick Mann says:

      Very well written article, accurately reporting on the very well attended community meeting held at the Purley Masjid.
      Chris Philp MP is to be commended for attending the meeting.
      He along with the rest of us heard some excellent speeches, made by local residents.
      In his brief address to the meeting he followed the party line but did say that he had listened to the views of those attending and would pass them on to the Government.
      Apparently he has done this and there’s a picture of him looking very serious alongside the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly in one of the back passages in the House of Commons.
      The only shame of it is that he didn’t feel that the strength of feeling in the Community warranted him standing up in the House of Commons and passing on the concern of his constituents regarding the appalling situation in Gaza, the horrendous inhuman and contrary to International Law, way Israel is treating the Palistinian people.

  14. Imran Q says:

    Good initiative by Purley Mosque to hold our elected officials to account for the actions of government. May the concerns of the mosque attendees be voiced in Parliament & action taken to stop the innocent loss of life & illegal occupation.

  15. Shabeer Jameela says:

    I have colleagues in Israel and don’t know anyone in Gaza. Hamas does not represent Palestinians or Muslims anywhere in the world with their heinous attack on civilians. By the same token, the world cannot allow this atrocity to give Israel a free pass to kill 1000s of innocent people in Gaza. How many deaths does UK consider as acceptable?

    Violence hasn’t addressed anything in the last 75 years of conflict that the ill judgement of UK authorities back then had teed off. It’s time to stop blindly toeing the American line and to join the sensible voices in EU to demand an immediate ceasefire.

    UK should show real leadership to push for a negotiated settlement for the immediate problems (e.g. Israeli hostages, aid for the stricken Gazans) and for the long term 2 state solution. What’s the alternative? Another 75 years of rinse n repeat?

    • Tousif Iqbal says:

      Good article covering some important points that were conveyed well here.

      It’s great the Chris Philip joined and listened in on this meeting. It’s important that Chris does relay the messages, concerns and such war crimes back to government.

      There is no justification to the inhuman situation in Gaza now. There has to be a peaceful solution to this, action must be taken to have a resolution!!

Leave a Reply